North America, Trade/Markets/Prices

Post-Spudpocalyptic world: ‘It’s like oranges in Florida, grapes for California – this is their livelihood’

The “Spudpocalyse” could at last be over. American and Canadian officials are moving to overcome an impasse that has curbed potato trade from Prince Edward Island (PEI) over the past two months, Canada’s agriculture chief told The Hill on Friday.

“To Prince Edward Island, it’s catastrophic,” said Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau. “It is like oranges in Florida, grapes for California. This is their livelihood.”

Bibeau was referring to an ongoing ban on exports of PEI potatoes to the U.S. due to a “potato wart fungus” outbreak that struck the Canadian maritime province in the fall. The minister said she met with her American counterpart, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, on Thursday, to discuss the resumption of table-stock potato trade — primarily to PEI’s biggest potato customer, Puerto Rico, and to the rest of the U.S. down the line. 

“We are very hopeful that we will be able to export to Puerto Rico first within a week or two,” Bibeau said. The Hill has reached out the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for comment on the issue.

Toward the end of November, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) included all fresh potatoes — ones for processing and for consumption, or “table-stock” — after the U.S. raised phytosanitary concerns, or those related to plant health.

Source: The Hill. Full story here
Photo: Courtesy Getty images

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